December 29, 2008
I am a December baby. (And no, I was not born the day Pearl Harbor was atttacked. *cough* Dubber *cough*) I endured growing up with "slash gifts" - Bday/Christmas gifts. I vowed then that my birthday would be my day; a day for me. Yes, I spend it with family, but I take a chunk of time to think about the past and the future. A sort of stopping the car, stretching the legs and checking the map. Trouble is since 40, the map of what's ahead seems like a short trip. Mortality looms, looking over my shoulder...
This year, I spent my birthday in a hospital room, facing Mortality as it looked at both me and my son. No, Chase was never in any danger. But seeing him lay there for hours on end, while most any day he hardly stops moving even to eat, scared me more than I could ever describe. I was completely unprepared for this. And it broke me. It crushed me. (In his short time on earth, he has already spent more time in the hospital than I have in my lifetime.)
Then, Mortality took a road trip. My parents recently moved to Alabama; partly to be closer to my brother and not so far from me. They are moving their stuff slowly and deliberately. They bought a truck and a trailer so that they can take their time in settling into their new house. A few days after Chase left the hospital, I got a call from my brother. He hardly ever calls me; I usually have to call him. He just had a call from Dad. They had been in accident. All he knew for sure was that they had gone over an icy bridge near Canton and the trailer and truck sort of jack-knifed. When they hit dry pavement on the other side, Dad had over corrected and they flipped the truck onto the passenger side. While Dad said he was not hurt, Mom was. She had several cuts and her neck was hurt. He would call me when he knew more.
Within fifteen minutes, he called again to say that Mom had a broken bone in her neck. She was stable (that word again), but that they were taking her to Parkland in Dallas to do a CT scan. All I could do is lay awake all night (something I was very used to doing) and pray.
The next morning brought with it the call that she had indeed broken the first vertebra, but had not injured her spinal column. She had full use of her limbs, etc. She also had ruptured a vein beside it, but that surgery was not necessary. Aspirin to thin the blood would do. Bruised and cut from all of the glass from the broken passenger window were the only other injuries. She was out of the hospital in two days, but has to wear a neck brace for three months.
It is notable that my Dad has driven millions of miles. And that is not an exaggeration. During that time, I only know of one ticket that he has received. And this is very first accident he has had. I am hoping that this will be his only accident.
During all this time, I felt like I was in the eye of a hurricane. Just one wrong move, and I would be sucked up and into oblivion. It was all too overwhelming. But I internalized it. I only let bits of it to assail me during the day. At night was a different story. I knew what my Dad was going through. He never left his wife's side. He did not even consider getting checked out until his wife was in the clear and there were others to be there for her. Even with the risk of having internal injuries, his agony at causing harm to her consumed him. He was living out a fear he, and I, face every time we take the family anywhere: I do not want to bring harm (or death) to others while being the one driving the car. His dread was now a reality.
It seems strange to note that I still feel like a 28 year-old. And Chase and I play more like 2 kids. There is no 40 year difference with us. I'm just taller. It was just that with my birthday and the coming new year, I realized that I am coming upon 25 years since graduating from high school. I have been out of public schools double the amount of time I spent going. No, I do not plan on going to any reunions. Still, a thought hit me right between the eyes. There are those with whom I went to school, some that I saw during all twelve of those years, that will have 2 year-old grandchildren. Perhaps some of the grandkids could be older than Chase. I am in no way saying that I regret my choice. In all honesty, I am certainly pleased and feel blessed with having Chase now. I rather think that if we had children soon after getting married, it would have put too much stress on us. It potentially could have ended our marriage. That would have been years of therapy - "I was the reason my parents divorced."
I know that this has been a bit of rambling. Like I said, most of this is a release of thoughts and feelings that I keep inside. I know that it isn't healthy. I started writing some of this in a journal. But the idea that someone may read this gives it more weight. And takes more of the weight off of me.
So here I am facing a dichotomy: A happy, healthy life with a loving family, all the while feeling like it could all end so swiftly and mercilessly. All I can do is thank God for one more day of living.
December 22, 2008
The most impactful event was the hospitalization of Chase. The week before Thanksgiving, he developed a cough and a fever. A doctor visit found nothing in his lungs, but an ear infection. Some antibiotics were prescribed and we went on our way. But four days later, he was not better. He was actually doing much worse, and not wanting to eat or drink. A call to the after hours number led to speculation of meningitis. With that, we headed to the ER.
After a few hours it was determined Chase had Pneumonia (and I spelled it correctly without using spellcheck!) as well as still having an infection. That turned out to be Cytomegalovirus, or "baby mono" as it was affectionately referred to by one of the nurses. He was admitted that night and put on an IV, as he was becoming dehydrated.
The kicker with Chase is that he is allergic to Amoxycillin. So that meant trying to find something that works, but doesn't turn him into a leopard. The initial prescription had no effect on the infection. And several antibiotics later, we found three others to which he is allergic. In the end, the one medicine that worked turned out to be one of the most expensive on the market today. He has/had to continue taking it even after we left the hospital, and the 100mg that came home with us would have cost us over $1000 had the insurance not covered it.
So, after 10 anxious days and 9 sleepless nights at the hospital, we came home worn out and needing time to recuperate. And really, we were/are out of sync with the rest of the world. In actuality the entire event lasted over 3 weeks. Chase has proved more resilient than I, as he is back to his old self - minus a few pounds - and (hopefully) ready to get back into his daily routine. I still haven't gotten back to speed. I cannot get a restful night's sleep. I still wake up about every two hours, following the regimen of the nurses' rounds. And yes, compelled to check on him at least once a night. I thought the feel of an actual bed would stop it, but it hasn't.
In an attempt to make light of the situation, I did come up with a couple of Top 6 lists. If anything, they will be cathartic for me. I hope you enjoy.
2. The term "Stable" - I guess that's more efficient and more clinical than saying, "Well, he's not getting any worse, but he's really not getting better..."
3. Seeing any child hospitalized - It's horrible, but there were several times I thanked God that Chase was not any worse than the dozens of kids we had to pass by every day. And then you feel guilty. And you say a silent prayer for those kids. And you hug your child.
4. W_a_i_t_i_n_g - For the doctor to come by. For the next drug being pumped into your son to work. For test results to come back. For mystery diseases to finally reveal themselves. For discharge paperwork.
5. Bad cable reception and no Internet - If you check into any hotel, you get these things standard. And they are no way near as costly a night like a hospital room.
6. The physical toll - Crappy food or fast food eaten on the fly, lousy sleeping arrangements, very little sleep either from nurses waking you or simply worrying, and mental exhaustion wear your body down.
2. Young Nurses - Okay, not because they are perky and cute. They really are great around kids. They are exactly perfect for working in Pediatrics. (And because they are perky and cute!)
3. Visits from sports players and Ronald McDonald - They don't have to do it, but it is so great that they do!
4. Wheelchair rides around the hospital - The change of scenery, even if it is to the x-ray room, is still refreshing and welcome.
5. All the latex-free gloves you can stuff in your pockets. - The way I look at it, I've paid for them, many times over.
6. Everyone finally going home together. - A house is never so empty as when you are in it alone. Especially when you don't know when your child will be able to come home. But, that all disappears instantly when a child's laughter fills it again.
October 15, 2008
October 12, 2008
Chase - Beside me, in a T-shirt and shorts.
Chase decides to stand like Daddy, but has no pockets. He lifts his shirt and sticks his hands in shorts at each hip. Looks at Daddy and both smile. Then, to complete the look, he sticks out his stomach as far as he can. Looks at Daddy and only Chase laughs. And Daddy realizes what a poor role model he truly is.
Salads have become my meal of choice.
October 09, 2008
I saw a painting by an artist named Rodney White two days ago. He uses sayings and vintage signage to create works of art. Most everything he does has some kind of inspiration. The one I saw really gave me a boost. It read, "Trust that the wind knows where it is going."
Thank you. I know I will still struggle a little. But hopefully each day will be easier.
September 26, 2008
See? Short, to the point, and posted.
I could write about my day, but that is even more boring! (I did eat jambalaya for breakfast. Hmm. Boring.) Nothing I deem important ever seems to happen. And that is probably a good thing.
Still, there has to be something worth writing; and in turn worth reading.
I found a blog by a girl/lady/woman/female named Kelly. She calls herself a reluctant pastor's wife. She is insightful, inspiring and humorous. But the one thing I really liked was her micro-blog. Yes, I know it is Twitter. *shudder* But that, coupled with Kelley's Twittering, got me thinking. I don't have to be verbose on all my posts. In fact, limiting a post to a text message might free up my creativity.
I just hope I don't have to resort to what I had for breakfast...
Edit 4/1/09: It seems that Kelly, for personal reasons, has taken her blog down.
August 21, 2008
But the worst part is that it was uninspired. All my writing is falling into the same banal fodder. It isn't writer's block. It really is worse than that.
Maybe there will be a topic to rant or opine about soon.
July 17, 2008
Anyway, I was thinking about the price of gas, and wondering if this movie was scheduled to come out, say around Christmas, if it would garner as big an audience as it did back in 2006. Would we as a society be put off by a movie about cars and racing? Then one of the songs started. And I realized that we celebrate our cars, no matter what. Both in film and in music.
So, with $4.00 a gallon for gas, here is my Top 6 list for celebrating all things automotive:
1. Life is a Highway - Tom Cochran, 1991 (And the song that inspired the list)
2. I Can't Drive 55 - Sammy Hagar, 1984 (A must on any car song list, even if they have raised the speed limit.)
3. Little Duece Coupe - Beach Boys, 1963 (They invented the car song genre.)
4. Drive - The Cars, 1984 (Yeah, I know. Way too obvous a choice)
5. Hot Rod Lincoln - Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, 1972 ("Son, you're gonna' drive me to drinkin' If you don't stop drivin' that Hot Rod Lincoln")
6. Little Red Corvette - Prince, 1983 (Chevy used the song as part of an ad campaign where the slogan was "They don't write songs about Volvos". I had to include it in my list just for that!)
Right now, I want to get into a Mustang, crank up the stereo, and drive until I'm out of gas!
So, let me know. Agree? Disagree? Your choices?
July 09, 2008
Now July is one-third over and I have several unfinished projects in disarray. This is my Things To Do list for the next few days:
1. Complete 5 applications for teaching positions for the fall.
2. Send out reference forms to those who kindly have agreed to speak well of me.
3. Complete 4 to 6 drawings for a concept called "I Got It!"
4. Finish a second draft to a children's book called "The Flirds of Borida". (I cannot decide if I like Flird or Flyrd better.)
5. Crank out a few posts to this blog.
6. Get back to a daily posting on Orlando Daily Photo.
All this on top of a regular job, a little boy who needs pony rides, and a loving wife who needs small breaks from a little boy.
I think "Take a nap" just moved to the top of the list...
June 07, 2008
Not a burp. Not one of those chesty, breathy kinds of release of pressure. No. This was a belch. Deep from the pit of the gut, belch.
It did surprise him. He was not sure what had occured. Was it good? Was it bad? He looked to me for guidance.
I gave him a knowing smile, took a deep breath, and answered his with one of my own.
And then we laughed together. He laughed until he fell over. I wiped a proud tear away from the corner of my eye.
Today, we bonded. Bonded in a way no female could ever understand. And now I wait for another of those moments meant to strengthen that bond. Both those that involve bodily functions and those that don't.
Yeah, it's a Guy Thing.
May 21, 2008
If someone offers you a mint, take it. They may know something you don't.
Another, more philosophical gem:
Usually the smartest person in the room is the one who says the least.
Which leads me to the question: What is the BEST ADVICE EVER?
May 12, 2008
I don't know if I would watch it with my child, but truly, there isn't any comedic show now that I could/should/would show him. At least he would enjoy Tom Servo and Crow. And I know he would laugh at the right moments. Even if he didn't get the joke, he would get the punchline.
April 28, 2008
So, I just went through some email accounts that I haven't cleared out in awhile. A couple were at least 3 months full. Much to my surprise, there were only a few viagra ads. Much to my chagrin, there were quite a few viral emails from family and friends. Once past my "Why the hell are you sending me this?" reaction, I decided I need to respond. The question is, how?
I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. Well, maybe one to two. I have thought about telling them to set up a stumbleupon or mixx account. But I am sure they know I won't visit their sites. No matter even if I promise to do so daily. I don't want to call them directly. This will validate to them that I actually opened and read it! And obviously, after sharing my opinions through writing caused such a stir, emailing them might not be the best.
Instead, I think I will simply email these nice people the same exact things they send me. Maybe I will send it twice. Or three times! I know that it sounds stupid, but my logic is this:
First, they must love getting and reading these. So maybe they will enjoy seeing them again. And again. And then again.
Second, maybe by the third time that ballerina will finally spin the other way for them! What joy that will be! (And why the hell is she naked? Does that help in the spinning process?
Third, maybe (hopefully) they will see what it is like to be bombarded with inane images, stories, jokes and quizzes.
I will let you know how it goes!
April 20, 2008
Then I found this little gem of a site called SueEasy. You, as a litigant, can scroll down through the list of class action law suits. If you don't find one, you can add yours. Or if it is a case involving just you in a civil or criminal issue, you can click on whatever speciality you need. Then, a lawyer gets in contact with you. No searching yellow pages. No asking strangers. No google searches.
In a way, this is a branch off from the social media sites. The user, or litigant, finds someone (lawyer in this case) or group (class action suit) that they wish to join. A friendship or partnership is established. Each party gets something they want from the site.
At once, I am disturbed by this and yet, a part of me finds this ingenious. Yes, there will be some ethical issues. But these will be policed by the users, both the litigants and lawyers, themselves, as well as the site administrators. Just like in any social media site. They have an image to uphold. And they certainly don't want to end up being a class action lawsuit on their own site!
This brings me to the big picture part of this: What other services can use Web 2.0 in their business model?
I can see this being used in a teacher/student environment. There is some application of this in the real estate arena. They simply don't have a formal version like this. And certainly nothing that crosses company lines.
I keep thinking there is a money-making idea with this. It is a matter of finding the right market for this.
April 09, 2008
I have taken a little time to reflect upon my recent comments on other people's blogs. Really just two blogs. One blog chose simply to delete my comments (as well as several others) that went against his argument. Even after posting them AND responding to them!
Without giving him any credit here, the post in question was how gas prices were out of control because we invaded Iraq. And in the very same paragraph said that we had invaded Iraq for their oil fields. I, and several others who had a dissenting view to this, posited that if we truly went there for oil, then if anything gas prices should have stayed the same, if not dropped. This doublespeak continued even with his responses. It soon became clear that the author really had nothing but the Democratic playbook of responses. I don't even think he had fully thought out any of the stuff he typed into his blog.
Now, I did enjoy the challenge and it was fun to see others put down how they felt. I really do not care if he did delete my comments. I simply will not give him "free advertising" by posting his site here.
While I was at it, I jumped into the middle of another person's opinion piece. Kelley has a great blog full of personal style and beliefs. She is thoughtful and thought provoking. And while I have yet to meet her (soon, very soon...), I count her as a friend.
Yet I felt compelled to comment on how she views other people. I was tired; it was after 1 a..m my time when I started. And I tried to be concise. That only compounded everything. Instead, it came off more as an attack. I re-read my comment and realized something. No one can actually hear me.
Other realizations: The Sun and the Moon both travel east to west. Tabby cats are a lot like tigers, only smaller.
In truth, I am very deliberate with my words. I try to think through my thoughts before talking or writing. I sometimes rewrite comments and posts several times (even breaking out the dictionary and thesaurus) to make sure I put down just the right words. But even then, no one can tell my inflections.
Anywho, I did warn of this when I started this blog. I guess what I'm trying to say is: Kelley, I am so very sorry for crashing your party and french kissing you. But I will not promise that I won't do it again.
April 01, 2008
But the kicker is how it all ended today.
The set up: I bought sunscreen. 30 spf. Waterproof. The spray on type to help cover better. And yes, I even put it on. Twice during the course of the day. The problem? Never buy private label sunscreen.
We "saved" money by buying the CVS version of the Aveeno sunscreen. Somehow, this stuff does not work. At all. Kat and I are dealing with some painful burns. All the money saved was spent, and then some, on products containing aloe and lidocaine. Sweet cooling relief.
And the kicker? On the way home the radio personality reminded me it was April 1st. The conspiracy paranoiac wondered if this was a prank by the CVS company. Maybe. Anyway, I'm taking that impotent emulsion back. After my burn subsides. I don't want to give them the satisfaction of knowing their prank worked.
March 26, 2008
So, again, I find that the daily barrage of news that we are in a recession seem to run counter to what people are doing. This time around it is on the national level. Picture three talking head pundits arguing about what people should do with their money. The consensus leaned on sitting on your money. Don't take risks. One even went so far to argue that, in the short term at least, many should not spend needlessly on big ticket items. It was really a bit of doom and gloom.
Then the commercial break comes. First is the etrade baby (he cracks me up!) touting how easy it is to invest. Then, next is the guy who puts his social security number everywhere, and tells you how he can protect your identity. This is followed by ads for a flat screen television, a luxury car, and a travel website.
It really made me wonder: Which is more persuasive? Are we more swayed by "experts" or by advertisers?
March 20, 2008
The happy part is he is growing and developing daily before our eyes! He is a cross between a tape recorder and dictator. I realize that you have to be careful what you say in front of him, but the real problem is that the rest of the world does not. Going shopping has taken on a new aspect. And usually the people with vulgar language have kids of their own! That is messed up!
The fun part is still getting him to control his emotions. And I know that will take much more time and patience. The little dictator becomes indignant if you try to do something he does not want you to do. Last week, Kat borrowed a Laurie Berkner DVD from the library. He loves music of all sorts. (He will stop what he is doing to listen to the themesong of whatever TV show is on. He then goes back to business when it ends.) So, one night while Kat was at a rehearal, I put it in. I tried to get him to dance with me, and began moving in the geeky/awkard way that I dance. He commanded, "No dance, Daddy!" But I didn't listen. That is when he went nuclear and screamed! Then he started crying and said, "No dance!" When I stopped, he pointed to the couch and said, "Daddy, sit here!" I did as I was commanded.
This week he is moving up to a new class. It is much larger and has more kids. So far, he is not adjusting as well as he had in the past to the change. But this will not last long. Most dictators love new worlds to conquer. And more people to rule!
March 15, 2008
I also went through and added labels to my previous posts. In some cases, it was like reading my own posts for the first time. Time does give you a more critical eye. And side note: I gave 2 posts the same title. One would think Blogger would have an alert that you are duplicating.
Anywho, let me know what you think!
March 13, 2008
March 10, 2008
Why do I torture myself? Just because there is a kooky test or puzzle, doesn't mean I have to click on it. It doesn't even mean I have to finish it!
Yet, here is the result of my nerd test:
Now I have always known, deep down inside, was a geek that would sit and read just about every comic book ever made by DC Comics, (Only Spider-man ever garnered my attention at Marvel.) all the while the old Buck Rogers and Battlestar Galactica tv series would be playing in the background. Still, I managed to satiate that urge with "real" books and Star Wars. Little did I realize that by doing so, I unwittingly created a rather balanced inner child.
Then this Nerd Test! This damnable scourge has now revealed this to the world! It has unleashed the child in the same manner a young Wart managed to pull the sword Excalibur from the stone!
Yes, I am your Cool Nerd King! Bow before me, ye awkward Dorks! Kneal and kiss my ring, ye nerds!
Trust well that I will be a benevolent ruler. We shall discuss how R2-D2 is the true main character of "Star Wars"! We shall argue as to which is faster, Superman or The Flash! But never, will I impose upon you the remake of "Bionic Woman", unless of course you find her hawt!
Our first order of business for the Round Table: "The Blair Witch Project" is a modern retelling of "Hansel and Gretel". Discuss!
March 07, 2008
I came across his Top Ten Thoughts for 2008, and had to share.
Number 10. Life is sexually transmitted.
Number 9. Good health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.
Number 8. Men have two emotions: Hungry and Horny. If you see him without an erection, make him a sandwich.
Number 7. Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day; teach a person to use the Internet and they won't bother you for weeks.
Number 6. Some people are like a Slinky ... not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs.
Number 5. Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals dying of nothing.
Number 4. All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.
Number 3. Why does a slight tax increase cost you $200.00 and a substantial tax Cut saves you $0.30?
Number 2. In the '60's, people took acid to make the world weird. Now the world Is weird and people take Prozac to make it normal.
AND THE NUMBER 1 THOUGHT FOR 2008: 'Life is like a jar of jalapeños. What you do today, might burn your a$$ tomorrow'.
I think Number 6 is my favorite. *giggle*
Oh, and John, you should really like him. He's a Texas A&M grad and (former) lawyer.
March 05, 2008
1. Exercise more. As I stated, vague enough. I try to do some kind of exercise a week, and, since I did nothing before, this one is a lock.
2. Eat healthier. This has been an issue the past couple of weeks. With a nasty virus attack, I have not been back to normal in the G.I. tract. Without gory details, it really does not matter what I eat. (Sonic onion rings Sunday night! *drool*) Within 3 or 4 hours, well, you get the idea. *Bonus:* I dropped 20 pounds!
3. Enjoy more wines. Salud! Still not a red fan, though.
4. Write 500 words a day. I really only average about 250 to 300. Still, each day I gain!
5. Post one photo a day on Orlando Daily Photo. I have missed a few days so far. Daily posting is a tough thing. In 8 months, I have posted over 215 pictures. That means going out and finding something to shoot and posting. It has been very time consuming. Especially with an almost 2 year-old. Still, it has been very fun and very rewarding.
6. Post at least 6 times a month on this blog. So far, so good!
Now, I know these were too easily attainable. They were more about creating the habits and maintaining discipline. I knew with Chase, I have to do better health-wise and hold myself accountable, as later I will have to do the same with him. And I want to be the example.
February 29, 2008
Fast forward 31 years and I am still entranced by it and the other five. I cannot wait to share these with my son. To have a lightsabre duel or three with him. And, to see it again for the very first time.
Now, I finished watching Revenge of the Sith today, and I realized something that turned the whole of the series on its ear. Maybe you already realized this, and I am slow on the uptake. Anyway, I had that moment of epiphany right after Senator Organa hands over the droids to Captain Antilles. He orders C-3PO's memory wiped. It is an amusing moment. And even R2 gets in a chuckle. But, it hit me. Why not wipe R2-D2's memory, also? He has been more a part of the happenings than C-3PO. He is even one of only a handful of characters in all six parts. Why would you keep his memory intact?
His Story and History
Because R2-D2 is in fact what the story is about. Not Anakin. Not Luke. Not Obi-wan, Leia, Yoda or the Emperor. They are but pawns and supporting members for R2-D2. We first see R2 as one of a chorus of astromech droids on the royal starship fleeing the Naboo trade blockade. While his counterparts are picked off one by one, R2 is able to repair the shields and the ship is able to escape. This is the first of several times he is shown as savior when the humanoid characters are in a jam. He is presented to Amidala and everyone is quite taken by this little droid. Later in the movie, when the group return to Naboo, R2 gets into one of the fighters. Then, he is joined by the young Anakin. When Anakin powers up the fighter, he says that it is locked into autopilot and they go flying off into the dogfight with the trade federation droid ships. It is only after reaching the battle that R2 is able to disengage the autopilot. And Anakin is forced to fly and fight for his life. It is important to note that R2 accompanies Qui-Gonn to Mos Espa as we carries the technical details for the parts they need. He is in the background for most of the important moments throughout this episode and the episodes to follow.
In Episode 2, it is some 10 years later and R2 is still in the service of now-senator Amidala. While acting as her protector, he misses the introduction of two deadly worm-like creatures and Anakin must save her. Later we find R2 saving Padme from molten metal by stopping the droid production line on Geonosis. He also rebuilds C-3PO who has become parts of two battle droids.
Episode 3 begins with R2 helping with the rescue of Chancellor Palpatine. He shows more resourcefulness in that he defeats 2 of the larger, more powerful battle droids handily. And creates a diversion for the Jedis after they are caught by General Grievous. After this though, he is more of a spectator to the happenings. He and C-3PO are handed over to Captain Antilles for use on the blockade runner.
We jump some 18 to 20 years with Episode 4, where we find that he is accompanying Leia on her way to bring back Obi-Wan to Alderaan. The plan goes awry, but R2 along with C-3PO make it to Tatooine. He meets up with Luke and soon begins his search for Kenobi. While on the Death Star, he finds Leia is aboard, saves the gang from the trash compactor, and manages to get the Death Star plans to the main rebel base in time for them to utilize the information. He goes with Luke to help destroy the Death Star.
In Episode 5, he plays spectator to Luke's training. But once getting to Cloud City, he helps Chewbacca, Leia and Lando get to the Millennium Falcon, rebuild C-3PO, and restart the hyperdive engines.
With Episode 6, R2 and 3PO are given as gifts to Jabba the Hutt. At the right moment, R2 shoots Luke his lightsabre and helps Leia escape. He then goes with the strike force to Endor to disengage the shield generator. Thereby rendering the second Death Star, as well as the Emperor, defeated.
Droids are machines. Made by humanoids. Created to do tasks that the humanoids cannot or will not do. Droids are property. Droids are soulless. Droids may be able to think for themselves, but they are inferior to the humanoids. Droids are seen as slaves. To that end, droids are programmed to enjoy their slavery. They will obey the rules set for them.
But R2D2 has tapped into a source of programming that has allowed him to understand and manipulate the world, and universe, around him. He is unassuming, non-threatening, and melts into the background until he needs to make his move.
It is very interesting to note that Naboo was the homeworld for Palpatine. I do not think that R2-D2 is on Naboo by coincidence. I think he is there to track Palpatine. Somewhere along the way, R2 has come across the Sith master. Whether it was during Palpatine's apprenticeship with Darth Plagueis, or simply while at a coffee shop on Coruscant, R2 sensed his evilness. Maybe even sensed the grave threat that Palpatine truly was.
What? Sensed his evilness? Like "through the force" sensed? Yes. The true nature of R2-D2 is that he is tapped into force. But not in the same way that the Jedi or Sith tap into the force. R2-D2 has reached a level of artificial intelligence that goes beyond consciousness. He found the energy field that is created by all living things. Yes, I realize that R2-D2 is not a living thing. But he does use energy. Our definition of the force is given to us by a living being, Obi-Wan. Who then dies! And then continues to "live" in the force!
R2-D2 utilizes the energy of the force to manipulate the events that ultimately bring balance to the force.
Palpatine had for years worked behind the scenes with the Trade Federation to create the blockade on Naboo. His lust for power, a Sith attribute, coupled with his disgust for the ineffectual rule of the Chancellor was the driving force for his ambition. R2-D2's awareness of this was hampered in that he was bound to his programming. He cannot kill a humanoid. He could not move directly against Palpatine. Moving his way into the Queen's starship, he not only fixed the shields, but he created the leak in the hyperdrive! He did this to delay the Queen's arrival and to let others try to work out the dispute. He also knew that there was a strong presence in the force on Tatooine. If the Jedi found the presence first, it would be a blow to the Sith. In a sort of in your face move, R2 manipulates the situation again when they are back on Naboo. He gets in the fighter BEFORE Anakin does. He knew Anakin would be easily drawn to it. Further, R2 programmed the autopilot and forced Anakin into the battle. He was sure that the sight of this strong presence in the hands of the Jedi would be a blow to the newly elected Chancellor Palpatine. But, when Palpatine seemed unworried, R2 knew he would have to keep watching him.
By Episode 2, R2 was more aware of how the future would play out. He sensed Ani's love for Padme, and knew it would lead to Ani's undoing. He allowed the attack on Padme. He had hoped her death would let Ani focus on his future as a Jedi. He could not kill her directly. He could not go against his programming. It did not go as planned, as Ani saved her. And on Geonosis, R2 unwittingly saves her. He was only trying to shut down the battle droid production line. He rebuilds C-3PO because he sees the him as a front man and ally. Another entity he can manipulate. He also begins to realize he will not be able to change future events as we had planned. He makes sure he can stick close to Anakin if he is to have any chance.
In Episode 3, R2 reluctantly aids Anakin and Obi-Wan in saving the kidnapped Palpatine. R2's goal also is to eliminate the threat of General Grievous. R2 knows with his destruction, the droid armies would fall immediately. This would end the war and end how close Ani would have to work with the Chancellor. In the end, hampered in being a droid (second class citizen with no rights and no voice), R2 can only watch as the Republic is ripped asunder and the Galactic Empire takes its place. Yet he does manipulate things in his favor. He gets Senator Organa to attach them to a ship that routinely moves back and forth to Coruscant. And he makes sure that his memory is not wiped.
Well, he cannot communicate with humanoids anyway, so why does that matter? Ah, but he can communicate and it does matter! In the Ep. 1, he and Ani have conversations on the fighter. And in Ep. 4 and 5, he does the same with Luke! And, it again shows that R2-D2 can manipulate minds. And not just the weak-minded. But also the Jedi and Sith. Palpatine was powerful enough to hide his abilities even in the presence of Jedis. R2 is even more powerful in this ability.
If it weren't for his programming and the general dismissal of droids by humanoids, R2 would have been unstoppable. Really, I think of his programming to be more along the lines of the ethical code the Jedi follow. He is much more disciplined in following the guidance of the force than either of the Sith or Jedi.
The societal and political issues are the real limitation. The bartender in Ep. 4 - "We don't serve their kind!" - exemplifies how droids are viewed. R2 and 3PO must wait outside, while all sorts of creatures of Mos Eisley (a retched hive of scum and villany) are free to come and go as they please. And when you look at the groups that Count Dooku brings together to attack the Republic in Ep. 2 - the Trade Federation, the InterGalactic Banking Clan, the TechnoUnion, and the Commerce Guild - you find a group who see droids as dispensable pawns to enforce their ways. Droids are merely servants.
Overcoming the Limitations
If R2 had wanted to, he most likely could have attached himself to someone with political connections and proceeded to make changes that way. He must have sensed that Palpatine was too powerful to be removed through the political process. So he stayed with those who could stand against the Empire. He spent his time on gathering intelligence until the fateful day of coming across the plans for the Death Star. R2 must have also sensed that the growing unrest would need leadership. He went after the one he knew who others would rally around. A Jedi.
With everyone thinking they were extinct, a Jedi reappearing would be a catalyst for other systems to join the growing rebellion. And with the destruction of something so large and threatening like the Death Star, the Emperor would be seen as vulnerable. Defeatable.
And while it did not happen how R2 envisioned it, the effect was still felt. With Ep. 5 and 6, we see how the rebel forces grow and ultimately defeat the Emperor.
In the end, R2-D2 orchestrated a brilliant behind-the-scenes plan. He brought balance to the force. He brought down the Galactic Empire. He is the only character in the end who has lived and witnessed every event from the beginning. Indeed, R2-D2 is THE most powerful entity in the Star Wars Universe.
February 27, 2008
Okay, whenever I hear the words "global" and "warming", my eyes will glaze over and usually roll into my forehead. And that mainly happens because most of the evidence seems based on waht has happened over the past few years or decades. In truth, we have nothing in terms or long-term definitive proof of these claims. And really, there is no definitive proof against these claims either. I do think there are ways that we can improve how we protect the environment. Recycling and trash reduction are very valid and good things to do no matter how you feel about the issue.
But then, I found this article yesterday. Global warming sceptics buoyed by record cold. I am sure most of you have heard about it. Again, I am not saying that this should be taken as empirical evidence. And even the author of the piece makes this note:
*smirk* Very well said.
"OK, so one winter does not a climate make. It would be premature to claim an Ice Age is looming just because we have had one of our most brutal winters in decades," writes Lorne Gunter in the National Post.
"But if environmentalists and environment reporters can run around shrieking about the manmade destruction of the natural order every time a robin shows up on Georgian Bay two weeks early, then it is at least fair game to use this winter's weather stories to wonder whether the alarmist are being a tad premature."
February 21, 2008
Here are some items that, on their own, are not enough for even a lousy post. They seem utterly appropriate for an occasion such as this.
- If a man says something and a woman is not around to hear it, is he still wrong? Maybe I should set up a poll on this.
- When I had to have my gall bladder removed, the only annoying thing was having to wear that plastic cone. I mean really. Bite at your stitches once and it haunts you all your life. I didn't get a good night's sleep for a week.
- Why do people ask me about Chase, only to interrupt me with anecdotes of their child, sort of related to whatever I was talking about? I am the one with the interesting child.
- The sound of one hand clapping is still much sweeter than the sound of one head slapping a glass door.
- Too many people put more time and effort into the wedding than they do the marriage.
- If a bunch of cats jumped on each other would you still call it a dogpile?
So there it is. Random gibberish. And now my new shiny template has been officially tainted.
(At least I didn't fill it with how my day was, or what I ate. I will let other blogs handle those kinds of topics!)
February 20, 2008
I finally got this template to work. Actually, I found it on another site that was not in Spanish. This is a Wordpress theme that has been modified to Blogger. There were several hoops to jump through, but I dig it. Yes, I know it's a Mac OS ripoff. Still, it is very classy looking.
One cool bit is the widget area. They are drag and drop. Really. Go try it! And with cookies enabled, when you set it to how you want to see it, it will reload that way on your system! (Yeah, I know. No one will actually use it. But it's still cool.)
Anyhow, let me know what you think. I will try out some different things in posts and such. Simply to get the bugs out. And just to see what else I can do.
February 18, 2008
My problem is that I am too lazy to learn all the coding it takes to make a new one. And none of the ones that I find have all the qualities I want. Or they are in Spanish, and I would have to modify it. And again, too lazy.
I found one that I liked. The price was right - free. But no matter how I loaded it and played with the code, I could not get the darn thing to look right. It had a great little button date area. It even had three columns. Maybe I will look harder at it soon.
So I have given up. At least for a while. And even have time for a post or two!
February 04, 2008
January 31, 2008
So after bath time, we always brush Chase's teeth. It is that sorta, kinda toothpaste that helps you develop the habit of brushing. It probably would run far, far away if it saw gingivitis. He likes it. Both the sensation and I am sure the flavor. He stands on one of those step/seat things so that he can see the sink and himself in the mirror. When he's done, he gets a Dixie-type paper cup with just enough water. He simply drinks the water.
But tonight, Mommy decided that he should learn to spit the water out. Now, Daddy warns that this is probably not a good thing. But Mommy knowledge is vastly superior, so she showed him how it's done.
*Swig of water. Spit.*
Chase cracks up. He found this so funny, that he begins laughing. Mommy repeats the process.
*Swig of water. Spit.*
Now he's laughing hard! He almost falls off his step thing. He laughs so hard he can barely catch his breath!
Once more: *Swig of water. Spit.*
He can barely contain himself. And we are laughing as hard as he is! After a several minutes of laughter, we put the cup down. It's time to clean up the toys and get ready for bed.
Right before bed time, we read a book. And we drink a glass of milk. But this time, Chase begins to laugh, and laugh hard. And then he takes a sip of milk. And he spits. And more laughter! Mostly from Daddy!
*Daddy does the "told ya so" dance*
I cannot wait until Mommy picks him up from "school" and hear how ALL the kids in the class are now spitting their drinks!
January 26, 2008
Most of the pieces written here do a great job critiquing how the Eisner era focused on how the theme parks could be milked for maximum revenue, after years of really languishing and maintaining a status quo following Walt Disney's death. The theme parks have moved away from what Walt originally intended. Their view is that we should get back to the original ideal.
I put all of this out in front so that you can decide if you wish to read the middle section. I am about to go on a rant. I am not concerned if anyone truly does read it the middle. I just wanted to get this off my chest. But I would like you to read the ending part. It is something that should scare the $#!+ out of every person in Canada and America. And this is the absolute perfect forum for this.
So, those that know me, I love most things Disney. And when you get right down to it, I love most Disney things that Walt actually was involved with. Nobody, and nothing really, is perfect. There is always room for improvement. But with Walt, he was almost spooky perfect when it came to running his company. From having the vision for creating so many firsts in animation, to taking an idea and working it out until it was great. He wasn't so much perfect, but driven to perfection. He expected and accepted nothing less than the absolute best work from himself and those that surrounded him. He also had an uncanny knack for knowing what people wanted. And he grew an empire that no one will ever be able to duplicate or improve upon.
Those who have come after him do not have that balance of creativity and leadership that Walt mastered. Michael Eisner brought much needed leadership, but no creativity. He made the company a powerhouse again and financially solvent. But his way of doing so left many feeling like he did not care about carrying on Walt's vision. This is most apparent in the theme parks.
Eisner made sure the parks made money. The exits of many rides are now little shops housing merchandise relating to the characters you just saw. There are several kiosks throughout pushing their timeshares. They are even labelled on the maps along with the attractions! It is a different style of management. Not all together wrong; the parks are more popular than ever. And certainly more profitable. And with the extra cash has come new parks and new attractions in the older ones. But those who prefer Walt's vision get bent out of shape by it.
The latest post at Re-Imagineering points out one of those ideas that did not work out. At the entrance of Epcot there are several monuments that are part of the Leave a Legacy program. For a fee you can have your image(s) and small inscription placed on one of the blocks. Sort of a tribute to your visiting Walt Disney World. It looks like a futuristic cemetery. I cannot believe that someone didn't stop this early on.
Now the author of the post is uses the moniker of "Mr. Banks", a character from Mary Poppins. It seems that the authors tend to think they need anonymity from their employer. And perhaps with a grain of truth, in that they tend to write from a haughty-I'm-right-you're-wrong attitude. Or it may be that they are in impotent, low positions where their views are not taken seriously, and this is the only way they feel their voice can be heard.
The author, to make his case, just cannot write this in a factual, erudite fashion. He has to insert this:
"Leave a Legacy is an element of the Disney Parks that divides guests rather than unites them. Those with enough status, bearing and disposable income can proudly shout, ‘I’m part of the legacy!” while those strained by the already steep entrance fee and unwilling to participate can’t help but be reminded that they’re not. Isn’t Epcot, indeed every Disney theme park, supposed to celebrate our common humanity rather than underline our differences?"
I felt compelled to respond to this. I pointed out that not only is this inflammatory, but simply a non-issue with this. He replied that he knew this, was unapologetic ,and that it was gratuitous. He simply wanted the reader to become enraged, and cry out, "Those Poor Unfortunate Souls!" The entire purpose is so that his bosses, which I am sure do not read or give credence to their blog, will come back to the ideals of Walt.
(Can't Control It. Gonna BLOW!)
Where has personal responsibility gone? Instead of facts, you have to stoop so low as to sway support to your cause through conjecture and lies? You have to project what you think someone "feels" into your missive?
The absolute worst part is that it feeds a dangerous mentality. We feel that the needs of a few supersede those of the whole. It is this mentality that says all kids must participate in whatever team sport they choose. All must play each game. Problem: Not all kids are good enough. Solution: We just won't keep score. Because that is fair to all. At least to those few who really can't play. Never mind that the good players cannot hone their skills through competition. It won't matter later on in life. The "loser" kids will continue into adulthood and never face competition. No, because when it's hiring time or promotion time, EVERYONE WILL BE TREATED THE SAME!
Think that I am taking this too far or going off-topic? No. To purport that divisiveness shouldn't be acceptable at a theme park is spin. You and others like you would love to see a world where "we" - insert any majority - are careful not to offend "them" - insert small group. The trouble is it is a very slippery slope. And one that continues to drag us down. Don't believe me? Read this wonderful bit of news from Canada. They are thinking about SETTING LIMITS ON FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION! And don't say that this is just a Canada thing. A step here. A step there. We walk closer to this daily with "political correctness" and frivolous lawsuits. Or when a radio personality is fired for saying something divisive? Who is to say what is divisive? And who gets the final say?
I take my freedoms very seriously. But with freedom comes a level of responsibility. To assert that the smaller group has rights above the whole is dangerous. And not without consequence.
January 18, 2008
Two of the most searched ways that I am found at Orlando Daily Photo is by "black cat" or "Cinderella's Castle" - both by images. These make perfect sense. They are straight forward. But I have been found 13 times by people searching "huge spider"! I always wonder what exactly these people are looking for, and if these are 13 hits from the same person.
But the strangest, most unbelievable search that has netted me 17 hits so far is a google search for "t". Yes, the letter "t"! Google says there are about 6,050,000,000 results. It may as well just say, "On just about every freakin' page on every freakin' website in the entire freakin' internet!" And yes, I crawled through 38 pages before I gave up. Searching the letter "t". John, I apologize right now for making fun of your searches. At least you have a method to your madness. And some very funny videos to boot.
Some good news does come out of this. I did find that when you search "orlando florida", I rank around top 40 to 50 sites (out of 16,900,000). When you search "Orlando fl", I am 20 to 30 out of 7,400,000. And when you search "orlando, fl, usa", I rank second only to Walt Disney World. How cool is that?
I know. Not very cool. Very trivial.
January 10, 2008
The kicker is that something like 80 to 90% of kids under 10 years old will correctly answer it. However, only about 15% of adults get it correct. Are you ready?
What is greater than God, more evil than the Devil, the poor have it, the rich need it, and if you eat it you will surely die.
I turned off comments to this. I will post the answer next week. If you cannot wait that long, you will just have to ask a first grader!
January 07, 2008
"They say such nice things about people at funerals that it makes me quite sad to realize that I will miss mine by just a few days."
January 06, 2008
1. The pyramids of Giza - circa 2500 BC* I would love to see the actual construction of these structures.
*Um, yeah. How would you program a time machine to understand BC dates? Is Zero considered a year?
2. Machu Picchu, Peru - circa 1450 AD The Incans were far ahead of the dominant cultural/technological wave that moved across the Earth. To see the heart of their empire in its splendor, would give such insight into a world we can only speculate.
3. Roswell, New Mexico - July 7, 1947 Right, like you wouldn't want to know the truth. I probably would arrive a few days earlier. The government could have lied about the actual date, too!
4. Eiffel Tower - 31 March, 1889 Somehow I would wrangle an invite to be part of the inaugural celebration. (I would probably take a few for a spin in my time machine!)
5. Leonardo Da Vinci's studio - circa 1502 I could then answer definitively what caused Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo to smile so when she posed for her portrait. My theory - Leo painted her with no pants on. And being a distinguished lady, she merely smiled that enigmatic smile.
6. Williams High School Plano, TX 1980 I would have a real long talk with myself. Be that object lesson as to what being an underachiever will bring you. Wait. If I have developed and fully funded a working time machine, I would just prove myself correct! OUCH! Damn time paradoxes always give me migraines.